It was infuriating to learn that the federal government had heavily subsidized a California solar panel maker, Solyndra, despite warnings that the company was in deep financial trouble. Ultimately, Solyndra went bankrupt, costing U.S. taxpayers half a billion dollars.
But disgustingly, that is far from the only case of Washington subsidizing "green energy" companies that eventually go belly-up.
CBS News reviewed government loan guarantees and related funding that were given to a number of green energy companies.
"We identified 11 green energy companies beside Solyndra that, together, got billions of tax dollars then declared bankruptcy or are suffering other serious financial issues," CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson noted.
She pointed out the example of Beacon Power, a green energy storage company. Even before Beacon got tens of millions of tax dollars, the federal government knew that it had only a CCC-plus bond rating from Standard & Poor's. That rating means the company had about a 70 percent chance of failing. That's considered a "junk bond" -- and "It's well below investment grade," an economist told the network.
Sure enough, Beacon Power did go under.
And, CBS reported, "the feds made other loans when public documents indicate they should have known they could be throwing good money after bad."
One company, Nevada Geo-Thermal, got almost $99 million worth of Energy Department loan guarantees even though it was already struggling financially. That project had been personally endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
"We counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for $6.5 billion in federal assistance," CBS reported. "Five have filed for bankruptcy."
Such losses to the taxpayers could be avoided if Washington would get out of the unconstitutional business of propping up various alternative energy schemes with subsidies.